The NBA has taken a big step toward including advertisements to official team uniforms by announcing that ads for Kia Motors Corp will appear on the league’s all-star game uniforms in 2016 and 2017.

 

Professional basketball is the first of the big four American team sports to consider selling uniform space to companies. In 2009, both the Phoenix Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA agreed to deals with sponsors which placed advertisements on their uniforms. Later that year, the NBA followed suit by allowing teams to sell advertising space on their practice jerseys. The NBA’s Developmental League, the equivalent of basketball’s minor leagues, began selling advertising space on their jerseys the following year.

 

The advertisement on the all-star game jerseys will be a 3.25 inch by 1.6 inch patch displaying the Kia Motors logo on the upper left chest of players’ jerseys. This is exactly where the NBA logo had traditionally been placed until it was moved to the back of the jersey last season.

 

 

Placing advertisements on team uniforms will undoubtedly increase the NBA’s revenue, but the association will be sacrificing a part of its unique character for that money. Uniforms such as the Los Angeles Lakers’ purple and gold, Boston Celtics’ green and white, or New York Knicks’ orange and blue have a long and beloved history associated with them. It may take fans a while to get used to seeing their favorite logos surrounded by corporate advertisements.

 

Like all professional sports, the NBA is a business. From a purely financial standpoint, allowing sponsors to advertise on uniforms is a very smart decision. The use of advertisements on the upcoming all-star game jerseys is most likely just the first step towards acclimating fans to the future of NBA uniforms.

 

The NBA’s Executive VP for Global Marketing Partnerships said: “We have been studying the overall proposition of jersey sponsorship for several years now, and it is something that we believe is likely inevitable.”

 

Will placing ads on NBA jerseys take away from the authenticity of the game? Basketball players are some of the most recognizable athletes on the planet; will star players be allowed to sell their jersey space to personal sponsors (similar to UFC fighters and NASCAR drivers), or will all jersey space be reserved for team sponsors? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4